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From the Listener Log for Friday...

Eddie Mair | 09:59 UK time, Tuesday, 28 August 2007

"I feel that the term 'spit spotting with rain' should not be used because it contains the word 'spit' which is a rude practice and has no place on the airwaves."

Am contemplating today's newsletter. We had a lot of positive feedback to Friday's - which people seemed to find uplifting...and that was the intention. Paddy rather let the side down yesterday by sending out a newsletter that was well crafted and full of useful information. I will be having a word.

10.07 UPDATE:

Ever wondered what a reporter takes with her/him on a job? No, neither have I. But in any case, this is Nigel Wrench's (borrowed) desk for his item from the Edinburgh International Book Festival on Friday.

Essential items include coffee (foreground), a digital sound recorder (the black thing next to the laptop), laptop (used for editing sound clips as well as writing scripts), and just beyond it a small BBC mixing desk (a "Glensound") which plugs into an ISDN line to ring our "traffic" unit here at Television Centre and be put through on a quality line to studio S1 for broadcast. Oh, and an apple somewhere too.



  1. At 10:13 AM on 28 Aug 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Now now, Eddie, just because Paddy took the newsletter seriously ....

    And now that you're back, and I'm back, can I thank you properly for sending me the BBC Logo, which has pride of place on my fridge.
    (Oh, and the message was lovely, too!)

    Poor Paddy! You could tell from the tenor of the programme that he had been struggling all day with technology, but his lovely, slightly bumbling*, style suited a Bank Holiday broadcast.

    But you, Eddie, have clearly learnt from the Any Questions reaction and took pre-emptive measures to ensure that Paddy couldn't steal your thunder - on the Blog, at least!

    Nice to see you're back (as you doubtless said to Paddy as he left the building).

    (*Bumbling, I should explain, is a style I love, so no criticism either intended or implied.)

  2. At 10:15 AM on 28 Aug 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Re Update:

    Shouldn't you have mentioned the BBC Bible, Eddie? I'll bet that's known as the Little Red Book in certain circles.

  3. At 10:59 AM on 28 Aug 2007, jonnie wrote:

    (Only for anoraks)

    Yes - for the technical, and since Eddie mentioned it an ISDN line is a digital telephone line (Integreaded services digital network)

    However, these are becoming few and far between these days especially as broadband (ADSL) connections take over.

    This software :-


    will run on any pc and plug into an ADSL line so the journalist can report back (in quality) from virtually anywhere!

    ie: If I downloaded it on the free months trial I could communicate with S1 in both directions from where I am sitting in full broadcast quality -

    It also means of course, that Eddie could do his programme from bed! with no more than his broadband connection - for free!

    Amazing how things progress!

  4. At 11:02 AM on 28 Aug 2007, Dr Hackenbush wrote:

    Is Paddyo not with us tonight?

  5. At 11:12 AM on 28 Aug 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    I see Eddie's still got Calamity Jane on his mind this morning. And interesting fact about Doris Day: Did you know she also appeared in a film called "Young Man with a Horn?"

    (Slinks away sniggering quietly)

  6. At 11:24 AM on 28 Aug 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Tut tut, Big Sis.... I feel the Naughty Step may be your destination after a comment like that!

  7. At 11:26 AM on 28 Aug 2007, Jason Good wrote:

    What is the digital recording device of choice and how much would one cost?

    And what does this Glensound thingy do?

  8. At 11:31 AM on 28 Aug 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    LOL..that will be just the one gallon of coffee or have i got the perspective wrong?


  9. At 11:37 AM on 28 Aug 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    'Morning Fearless! I'd imagine it is a film best viewed first thing in the morning, but I could be wrong.

    Okay, Fred, I know the way, I know the way ......

  10. At 11:42 AM on 28 Aug 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    DIY - I think you may be right, unless of course Nigel Wrench was doing a David Walliams doing a Denis Waterman .... Oh, you know what I mean.

    Interestingly, all with surnames beginning with W. You couldn't make it up, could you?

  11. At 12:01 PM on 28 Aug 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re: Jason -

    You probably weren't asking me but I can probably answer your question.

    The Glensound is a small portable ausio mixer so the journalist can mix their microphone along with other sound sources - background sound effects from another source. It also has a built-in interface which allows iit to be connected to an ISDN line. Via an analog - digital convertor a two way broadcast quality can be initiated between the broadcast studio and the reporter. You can normally tell it's ISDN as the quality sounds a bit 'wooden' lacking in the 'highs' and sometimes suffers the odd squeek and dalek quality if the line isn't good.

    There are several types of digital recorder. The Laptop, of course is one.

    Minidisc - though not widely used anymore

    DAT (Digital audio tape) :- same or better than CD and widely used.

    Solid state:- Using SD cards (popular)

    Different organisations use different types of equipment though DAT does not use any compression (unlike most of the other recording devices) so the quality is far superior especially when being transferred during mixing and editing.

  12. At 12:12 PM on 28 Aug 2007, jonnie wrote:

    naughty step indeed BigSis :-(

  13. At 12:19 PM on 28 Aug 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    Big Sis (10)

    ...wot.. as in Wrenching a Waterman out of a Walliams as invisaged by Wyman?

    oh.... and (9).....you are so for the naughty step now!!


  14. At 12:27 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Jason Good wrote:

    jonnie (11): Au contraire, mon ami. I was hoping you'd answer as you seem to know all about this sort of thing.

    Just thinking of ideas for things to do with primary school kids as an after-school club and one was to set up a "radio station" (read "do some podcasting").

    We could have rigged phone-ins and everything for added realism...

    Where would be cheap places to obtain said types of equipment?

  15. At 12:29 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    DIY and Jonnie:

    I'm acting as a Temp for Appy while she's on her hols :o) - keeping the step warm, you might say .....

  16. At 12:50 PM on 28 Aug 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    Big Sis (15)

    good...you are doing a fine job so far, Appy will be proud....carry on..


  17. At 12:59 PM on 28 Aug 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Big Sister (5):

    I'm not familiar with that film, but it sounds awfully like "Young Horne With a Man" from the Armpit Theatre section of '60s radio show "Round The Horne". I think Kenneth Williams might well have played Doris Day's part... ...either that or a trumpet.

  18. At 01:04 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Dr Hackenbush wrote:

    Step this way...

  19. At 01:18 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Gossipmistress wrote:

    SSCat (17) Which part of Doris did he play, exactly?

  20. At 01:25 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    ... and thank you for my BBC logo, Eddie.

  21. At 01:38 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    I can't see what all the fuss is about - It's supposedly based on the life of Bix Beiderbecke, though with, apparently, lesbian overtones.

    Gossipmistress: Surely the answer is obvious- he played the s'trumpet.

  22. At 01:58 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    Dynebolic is "hactive" software designed for very lightweight and portable production. It can run as linux on a windows/msdos disc, and seems quite good. You can do internet radio with the kids....


  23. At 02:08 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Doris Day Fan wrote:

    In "Young Man with a Horn", a 1950 film loosley based on a biographical novel of the same name about the life of Bix Beiderbecke, Doris Day played a character called Jo Jordan.

    Day had not received all-out top billing in any of her previous pictures, although she had certainly been the centrepiece in all of them. In this film, she received third, but equal billing with Kirk Douglas and Lauren Bacall and for the first time her part, as Jo Jordan, was not the main character.

    In 1970, again playing the Jo Jordan role, she signed for Leeds United from Greenock Morton for £15,000, and went on to score 48 goals in 222 appearances. Jordan moved to Manchester United in January 1978, scoring 37 goals in 108 games, before moving to Italy with AC Milan and then Verona.

    Jordan was also capped 52 times at international level for Scotland.

  24. At 02:21 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Fifi wrote:

    To return, kicking and screaming, to the comment at the top of this thread...

    There is an awful lot of rubbish talked in weather forecasts nowadays:

    * spits and spots of rain
    * misty and murky
    * temperatures are struggling
    * clouds bubbling up from the west
    * today's top temperatures

    Just a few of my personal favourites!


  25. At 02:52 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    More explanatory info at:

    Happy Hacking!

  26. At 03:46 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    And I find it odd when weather presenters talk about organised rain.

    Not to be confused with what Frank Green used to call persistent rain.

  27. At 04:22 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    I suppose 'organised rain' is the opposite of a shower, as in "Look at that shower over there" ......

    But nobody's mentioned that old chestnut "Fost and Frog". Something we get here on a regular basis, no doubt.

  28. At 04:59 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Dr Hackenbush wrote:

    How did they come up with the logo for this organisation? Maybe they took the initial letters from the words British Broadcasting Corporation? Inspired! If only we were all so bright.

  29. At 05:08 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Dr. H: ???

    Or were you drawing a comparison with the Olympics logo?

  30. At 07:40 PM on 28 Aug 2007, mittfh wrote:

    So, what else can we decipher from the photo? I presume the "Glensound" is the grey box with knobs just behind the laptop (from the camera's POV). As the digital recorder looks suspiciously similar to an analogue tape recorder with a LAN/modem port, I'd assume it's a DAT (but not ADAT - that uses VHS tapes). It looks as though he's already printed out a copy of the script (although the printer's gone AWOL), although it would be interesting to speculate on the nature of the paperwork under the script, the contents of the BBC manual, and the book to the right of the coffee cup (plus, is anyone willing to speculate on the brand/shop of coffee?)


    Jason, a few years ago I was briefly involved with a school producing podcasts/internet radio.

    Their equipment was:

    mp3 player/recorder - don't know the brand or anything, about the same size as a 'Nano'.

    External microphone - records better than the tiny thing in the device.

    Computers with USB ports on the front (you don't want kids scrabbling around the back end of the computer - especially if the PSUs have a voltage selector switch...*BANG!*)

    Audacity - freeware mp3 editor

    A subscription to the radiowaves.co.uk website. IIRC this allows the pupils to upload their creations, but nothing goes 'live' until it's been moderated by a teacher with the radiowaves account password - checking for profanity, appropriateness, and of course (c)...

    That's about all I can remember, so don't expect a step-by-step guide - Jonnie seems to be the resident digital multimedia expert around here :)

  31. At 09:09 PM on 28 Aug 2007, Jason Good wrote:

    Thanks Ed and mittfh.

  32. At 12:44 AM on 29 Aug 2007, Dr Hackenbush wrote:

    I suppose it’s just that it’s more of a brand than a logo. What image would people suggest to create a new logo to summarise the BBC.

  33. At 12:16 PM on 29 Aug 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    All....am I the only one whos is curious as to why anybody would want a picture of four lightly fried eggs nestling on a bed of Ivy?


  34. At 02:20 PM on 29 Aug 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    DIY (33) Better ask Nigel - it's part of his kit. I thought it was a bunch of flowers, probably to bribe some interviewee.

  35. At 02:26 PM on 29 Aug 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    DIY (33) Better ask Nigel - it's part of his kit. I thought it was a bunch of flowers, probably to bribe some interviewee.

    Ah, wait a minute; hidden microphones for quadraphonic sound.

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